Coach-captain rift on view in international media

Published: Monday, September 26, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:The rumblings in Indian cricket today found an echo in the Australian and English media, which largely appeared to be on the side of coach Greg Chappell in his row with skipper Sourav Ganguly.

"Epic power struggle" and "Indian soap opera" were some of the phrases used to describe the unprecedented face off between "the two most important figures in India's dressing room".

The BBC said in a report that the row was more than an epic power struggle, "it is also a drama of soap opera proportions, played out before the public's gaze."

"When a captain claims his coach asked him to step down, as it happened in Zimbabwe recently, there are bound to be repercussions.

"It could have been settled privately, but it became a matter of public consumption when Ganguly went to the Indian press, who went to town on the disclosure," it wrote.

In a report titled "Chappell, Ganguly caught in subcontinental divide", the Sydney Morning Herald said the spat had stemmed from the Australian legend "telling India's notoriously stubborn captain he should be sacked in a one-on-one meeting that Chappell hoped would forever be kept out of the public arena."

"Having this year become the coach of India, one of the most closely scrutinised jobs in world cricket, Chappell knew controversy would arise at some stage. He didn't have to wait long," it said.

"He's on his first tour, of Zimbabwe, and already he's embroiled in a falling-out that will cost either the coach or the captain his job, the Sydney Morning Herald report said.

The Guardian, treading a cautious path, said "India's captain has been depicted by his coach as a political manipulator out to preserve his own career in a leaked email to the Indian Board.

"Chappell's withering condemnation of Ganguly... is a tacit request for his sacking and has caused effigies of the Australian to be burned in Ganguly's stronghold of Calcutta."

The BBC said Ganguly enjoyed the backing of the most powerful man in subcontinental cricket, Jagmohan Dalmiya, the immensely well-connected former board president.

"Ganguly is India's most successful Test captain by number of victories and his captaincy has endured beyond the term of India's last coach John Wright, another foreigner.

"But Chappell is also a heavyweight figure. A former captain of Australia with a scoring record superior to Ganguly's, Chappell is very comfortable in his own skin," it said.

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